In the United Kingdom, the term "mill town" usually refers to the 19th century textile manufacturing towns of northern England and the Scottish Lowlands, particularly those in Lancashire (cotton) and Yorkshire (wool).
Some former mill towns have a symbol of the textile industry in their town badge. Some towns may have statues dedicated to textile workers (e.g. Colne) or have a symbol in the badge of local schools (e.g. Ossett School).
Spindleage of Lancashire mill towns producing spun cotton between 1830 and 1962
On his tour of northern England in 1849, Scottish publisher Angus Reach said:
- Crespi d'Adda, UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Nuovo quartiere operaio in Schio
- Villaggio Leumann a Collegno
- Villaggio Frua in Saronno
- Villaggio operaio della Filatura in Tollegno
The town grew out of a textile factory founded in 1833 by the sons of Feliks Lubienski, who owned the land where it was built. They brought in a specialist from France and his newly designed machines. He was French inventor, Philippe de Girard from Lourmarin. He became a director of the firm. The factory town developed during the 19th century into a significant textile mill town in Poland. In honour of Girard, 'Ruda Guzowska' as the original estate was called, was renamed Żyrardów, a toponym derived of the polonised spelling of Girard's name.
Most of Żyrardów's monuments are located in the manufacturing area which dates from the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is widely believed that Żyrardów's textile settlement is the only entire urban industrial complex from the 19th-century to be preserved in Europe.
Beginning with Samuel Slater and technological information smuggled out of England by Francis Cabot Lowell, large mills were established in New England in the early to mid 19th century. Mill towns, sometimes planned, built and owned as a company town, grew in the shadow of the industries. The region became a manufacturing powerhouse along rivers like the Housatonic, Quinebaug, Shetucket, Blackstone, Merrimack, Nashua, Cocheco, Saco, Androscoggin, Kennebec or Winooski.
In the 20th century, alternatives to water power were developed, and it became more profitable for companies to manufacture textiles in southern states where cotton was grown and winters did not require significant heating costs. Finally, the Great Depression acted as a catalyst that sent several struggling New England firms into bankruptcy.
Assawaga Mill, Dayville, CT, in 1909
American Thread Co. Mill, Willimantic, CT, c. 1910
Hollingsworth & Whitney Paper Mill, Waterville, ME, c. 1920
Cumberland Mills, Westbrook, ME, c. 1902
Mill Street, Attleboro, MA, in 1908
Arlington Mills, Lawrence, MA, in 1907
Merrimack Falls, Lawrence, MA, c. 1905
Amoskeag Mills, Manchester, NH, c. 1912
Jackson Mills, Nashua, NH, in 1907
Alice Mills, Woonsocket, RI, in 1911
Colchester Mills, Winooski, VT, in 1907
Mid-AtlanticLaurel Mill (Laurel Factory)
Model Mill Settlement, Chadwick Mills, Charlotte, N.C. Published c. 1905–1915
White Oak Cotton Mills, Greensboro, N.C. c. 1914
Aerial view of Ware Shoals Mill
- Company town
- Industrial district
- Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
- Old Great Falls Historic District, Paterson, NJ
Museums and historic sites
- American Textile History Museum, Lowell, MA
- Belknap Mill Society Museum, Laconia, NH
- Berlin and Coös County Historical Society, Berlin, NH
- Slater Mill Historic Site, Pawtucket, RI
- Lowell National Historic Park, Lowell, MA
- Lynn Heritage State Park, Lynn, MA
- The Millyard Museum, Manchester, NH
- Quinebaug & Shetucket Rivers Valley National Historic Corridor
- San Jose de Suaita Cotton Mill Museum
- Southern Textile Heritage Corridor, Vir, NC, SC, Ga, Al
- Museum Lewiston-Auburn, Lewiston, ME